this is bbc world news. our top stories: japan confirms it will resume commercial whale hunting next year — in defiance of a global ban. aid organisations in indonesia urge people to move to higher ground after warnings extreme weather could further destabilise the anak krakatau volcano. spotlight on the plight of migrants at the us—mexico border as a young boy dies in custody on christmas day. chinese human rights lawyer wang quanzhang goes on trial on charges of state subversion. and he may not believe in santa but the 7—year—old girl on the line does. the spirit of christmas trumps the president. japan has confirmed it will resume commercial whale hunting nextjuly, and it is withdrawing
from the international whaling commission. a government spokesman told reporters whaling would be restricted to japanese territorial waters and exclusive economic zone. japan will be joining iceland and norway in openly defying the international ban on commercial whaling. kim gittleson reports. although japanese ships althouthapanese ships hunted whales for decades, the bloody business has been officially banned for nearly 30 years. the chips like this one only catching and killing wales through what the japanese authorities claimed were research purposes. that japan has authorities claimed were research purposes. thatjapan has long authorities claimed were research purposes. that japan has long wanted to commercially hunt species like the minty wail which is protected by the minty wail which is protected by the international whaling commission, are not endangered. 0ther commission, are not endangered. other countries like australia and new zealand have opposed the move. the japanese withdrawal from the international whaling commission
means that the country will resume commercial whaling byjuly 2019. according to a spokesperson, whale hunting will be restricted to japanese territorial waters and economic zone. ships will cease whaling in the antarctic 0cean economic zone. ships will cease whaling in the antarctic ocean and they will only hunt species with healthy population numbers. in withdrawing from the agreement, japan will officially join norway and iceland in resuming a business that has long been controversial. it isa that has long been controversial. it is a move that will be sure to bring condemnation from conservationists as well as anger from international officials. officials in indonesia are stepping up the relief operation for the thousands of people who lost their homes in saturday's deadly tsunami. there's a promise too of a new warning system to try and avert future disasters. it's now confirmed at least a29 people have died. heavy rains are hampering efforts to get help and supplies to about 16,000 people on the islands of java and sumatra who've had to evacuate to higher ground. there are fears that further
eruptions of the anak krakatau volcano may trigger more deadly waves. naval vessels deployed around the sunda strait have found some bodies washed out to sea. tsunamis this year have exposed the fact that much of the early warning system hasn't been working, for years — partly because of damage by passing ships, theft, or vandalism. a new system would measure the size of waves, to detect tsunamis caused notjust by earthquakes but by undersea landslides. sameer hashmi reports from the coast of west java. three days after the tsunami struck indonesia, the country is slowly coming to terms with the scale of the tragedy. the government has now turned its attention on providing relief to thousands of people who have lost their homes. several such centres have been set up to collect food and clothing. leading the relief and rescue operations in banten region is commander rico sirait. he says progress has been difficult.
the challenge will be mostly because of the weather right now. it's rainy season, during the end of the year. we try hard to still — searching the shore, we have right now. a few kilometres away, tommy manangka was supposed to have a busy christmas, but it's turned out to be empty. his beach—facing resort was shattered when a strong wave from the sea powered its way through these doors on the night of the tsunami. in this muslim—dominated country, tommy is from the christian minority, and on a day he should be celebrating, he's busy picking up the pieces of his retirement plan. translation: i was with my guests when i saw a huge wave that went over the yard. i shouted, "this might be a tsunami". i asked the people to move up to the second floor, and then the next wave came in so quickly that guests who were in the lobby were dragged
all the way to the road. the special forces are stilljointly conducting rescue operations with the national search agency across the affected regions. we have been following the rescue team for the last hour, and they've been going from one beach to another, trying to sift through the debris to look for more survivors. but there are still many people that are missing. the team is still optimistic and hopeful, even though they realise that this has been a year of disasters for indonesia. the president has ordered the installation of a new advance tsunami warning system. in a country which has been prone to natural disasters in recent years, this could help avoid a future large—scale loss of life. sameer hashmi, bbc news, banten, indonesia. people in areas affected by the tsunami are looking for some kind of normality in their lives, however fleetingly.
some of those hit by the tragedy have been gathering in local churches in small christmas congregations. rahuljoglekar reports. shining a light during the darkest of times, a community comes together to deal with loss at christmas. but while this brave congregation may seem defiant in the face of tragedy, almost no—one here seems untouched by it. translation: we usually celebrate it with joy and festivities, but with the tsunami, we can only pray humbly, and not celebrate much for this year's christmas. when the tsunami struck, it took residents here in banten province by surprise. no—one could have imagined the scale of destruction, that was to take so many lives, and leave this quiet tourist destination changed forever. translation: during that tsunami, we were in the church, rehearsing and preparing for today's mass. we heard that the tsunami was coming, but we tried to find accurate information,
as there was no tsunami warning from the government agency. once it struck, we tried to help wherever we could. but life must carry on for the survivors of this enormous tragedy. a stoic christmas message from a community looking to deal with their loss, at a time when they were meant to be celebrating. rahuljoglekar, bbc news. an eight—year—old guatemalan boy has died after being detained by the united states border authority. the cause of death is not yet confirmed. it's the second time this month a migrant child has died after being detained. well, a little earlier i spoke to the journalist bob moore who covers issues relating to the southern border for the washington post. i asked him what was the latest situation regarding the deaths of children in us government custody. based his children died in neil paso
set the. today it was ordered that all of the stations conduct immediate medical reviews of all 700 children in their custody and to tra nsfer children in their custody and to transfer any with in terms of the lesser injury to a local hospital. and the two who died, there is a difference in their circumstances, isn't there? the first girl who died earlier in december died after 36 hours. in the second case, the boy had been in custody of water patrol for six days before becoming ill. it is possible that he became ill as he was in custody, rather than coming to them already ill. and what do you know about the conditions in which people are being held? surely the
cells were never intended to hold families of children for any length of time? no. and especially this case with the young boy, he was originally held in cells in l paso, a large city on the mexican border. that began on december 18. for some reason on december 23 he was transferred to what is, essentially, a highway check point in new mexico 100 miles north. it would be a tiny cell designed to hold a man or a woman for a couple of hours while paperwork was processed, it never designed to hold children or families for several days. and the bigger picture, it was a big election issue, immigration and the border wall but the numbers trying to reach the us from mexico have been dropping, haven't they, for yea rs ? been dropping, haven't they, for years? for decades. what is new,
however, is that increasingly the migrants we are seeing our family is coming from central america, seeking asylum. 0ur coming from central america, seeking asylum. our whole infrastructure for border enforcement here is still designed to deal with single mexican men coming and looking forjobs. we do not have the facilities to handle families, to process families. even though this has been a clear pattern for quarter years, the united states government through multiple administrations and congresses have done nothing to address what has become an obvious crisis on our southern border. the trial of a chinese human rights lawyer wang quanzhang on charges of state subversion is getting underway in the city of tianjin, south east of the capital beijing. mr wang was detained three years ago in a wide—reaching clampdown on chinese activists and the lawyers defending them. he was charged last february, but was not heard from again untiljuly. i spoke to stephen mcdonell who is outside the courthouse in tianjin. ok, i'm standing across the road from the tianjin intermediate people's court, where there is a trial on for this human rights lawyer.
wang quanzhang has been held for three and a half years without trial and finally, he's having his day in court. people who have been following the story will know that his wife and other women, quite dramatically, shaved their heads last week, calling for a trial, and now finally, we are getting one. there is quite a media contingent here. we'll swing around just so you can see. lots of reporters, also some diplomats here from different countries. and also, you'll notice there's a lot of other people who are sort of state security, that type of thing, who are also standing here, watching what we're doing. diplomats from the swiss, german, united states and british embassies tried to get in to hear the trial, but they were told it's not a public hearing. so they were not able to go in. and stephen, i think unfortunately in these trials, the verdict is often not much in doubt, is it? i mean, we're trying to work
out why all of a sudden there would be a trial. you know, in china, often they heavily rely on people admitting their guilt. so after three and a half years, he is having his trial. he's accused of attempting to subvert state power, which can be a pretty broad thing in china. basically, anything that would threaten the communist party can be seen and interpreted in this way. so it could be quite a tough thing for him to be defending himself against. of course, if he's found guilty of this, it could mean many years in prison. and stephen, this is part of a much wider crackdown, isn't it, on human rights activists, and the people defending them? yeah, he was picked up three years ago, at the same time that hundreds of human rights lawyers and activists were all taken away in a sort of broad sweep. now, of that group, though,
he's the last one still being held. and there is some suspicion the reason for that is that he won't admit his guilt. his wife and supporters have not been able to speak to him, so they don't really know what is going on with him. they don't even know for sure where he is being held. they suspect that it has been in tianjin, in this city, but even that is a secret. so you can imagine, be in a half years, no trial, in held without access to yourfamily, to be able to tell them well, how are you going? this is the level of interest and look, it will see here, you see all these people here who are talking to us? so there is a lot of interest here from... excuse me, i just lost my earpiece then, but from
state security and the government here, wanting to know what we're saying and they have also stopped, for example, his family from coming to the trial. so his wife, she would like to have been here but she is back in beijing and outside the house, there are guards and what have you and they will not let her leave the city. let's get some of the day's other news. a south korean delegation has set off for north korea to attend a groundbreaking ceremony, marking the symbolic launch of a joint project to reconnect the transport network across the divided peninsula. the event will be held in the north korean city of kaesong. it's not clear when substantive work will start due to strict sanctions on pyongyang. thailand's parliament has voted to approve cannabis for medical use. recreational use will remain illegal. marijuana was used in thailand as a traditional medicine until it was banned in the 1930s. a key lawmaker called it a "new year's gift" to the thai people. the 74th edition of the sydney to
harvard bluewater yacht race is under way. and 85 strong fleet left syd ney under way. and 85 strong fleet left sydney harbour on wednesday for the start of one of the most difficult races in the world. in 2018 it has one of its first all female professional crews. stay with us on bbc world news, still to come: an underground hit from the moscow metro. a rare chance to buy subway signs from the soviet era. the world of music has been paying tribute to george michael, who's died from suspected heart failure at the age of 53. he sold well over 100 million albums in a career spanning more than three decades. the united states troops have been trying to overthrow the dictatorship of general manuel noriega. the pentagon said that it's failed
in its principle objective to capture noriega and take him to the united states to face drugs charges. the hammer and sickle was hastily taken away. in its place, the russian flag was hoisted over what is now no longer the soviet union, but the commonwealth of independent states. day broke slowly over lockerbie, over the cockpit of pan am's maid of the seas, nose down in the soft earth. you could see what happens when a plane eight storeys high, a football pitch wide, falls from 30,000 feet. christmas has returned to albania after a communist ban lasting more than 20 years. thousands went to midnight mass in the town of shkodra, where there were anti—communist riots ten days ago. this is bbc news, the latest headlines: indonesia has confirmed it will buy a new tsunami warning system, after the number of people
known to have died in the latest disaster rose to nearly 430 people. syria says its air defences have intercepted missiles fired by israeli aircraft close to the capital, damascus. a military official said a weapons dump was hit and three soldiers were injured. israel confirmed the attack. in the past it has targetted iranian and hezbollah sites in syria that it regards as threats to its own security. earlier i spoke to benjamin weinthal, a research fellow at the foundation for defense of democracies and a journalist with thejerusalem post. the israeli government and israeli media have reported that israel's air force has struck military installations attributed to iran, an ammunition installation, and as a result, israel's triggered its air defence installation in the north. probably the aerodefence mechanism, but that has not been confirmed. do you expect it to escalate?
it is part of a pattern. israel does reserve the right to do this, doesn't it? it does, israel has initiated over hundreds of strikes within syrian territory to target the eu and us—classified terrorist organisation hezbollah, which israel considers one of its main enemies, as well as iranian forces. and israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu has also confirmed that it is israel's right, and they'll continue to target threats to israeli security. as you may have read, or listeners have seen over the last week, hezbollah has entered israeli territory through a number of tunnels that have now been blown up. looking at the bigger picture, to your perspective on the region, how does president trump's announcement about the withdrawal of us troops from syria impact on this? from the perspective
of the israeli defence, it's a terrible mistake. a, because it will create a vacuum that will allow vladimir putin, the president of russia, hezbollah, iran and assad, the syrian dictator, to intensify their presence. and it basically means that the us government has subcontracted its policy to the president of turkey, erdogan, who has not been a stabilising force in the region. he's set to move into north—eastern syria to probably conduct a massacre against kurdish fighters, who have been the most courageous and disciplined fighters in stopping the islamic state. so, from many perspectives, donald trump's new policy to withdraw troops will create more volatility in the middle east region. electric scooters have become a multi—billion dollar business
and a familiar sight in cities like paris and los angeles. but they're also increasingly visible on streets in the uk — that's despite being banned for use on public roads. now there are calls for the law to be changed, as joe miller reports. they've been taking off across europe and in the us. equipped with an electric motor, these traffic—beating scooters can zip along at 20 mph. commuter lloyd bennett is a convert, despite warnings about their safety. it's not something that concerns me. just — i'm not going fast, you know. if you're going along somewhere that's really busy, you can turn the power down, so you go a lot slower, and just take your time. it's just really easy, really simple to get round. it's no different to a bike. there is one key difference. e—scooters are still illegal in the uk, and are only allowed on private land. yet at this dealership in london, business is booming, and customers don't seem to be put off by the prospect of breaking the law. they've just come from san francisco, they'vejust come from paris, they'vejust come from israel, and they see everybody
on them, it's a very green solution, it's easy, and they don't understand why the government doesn't take it to the other step. he wants e—scooters to be treated the same way as electric bikes. so far, the company's appeals to authorities have fallen on deaf ears. the government has committed hundreds of millions of pounds to developing energy—efficient transport, but e—scooters like this aren't part of the mix, despite an increase in popularity, and there's no sign of the law being changed in a hurry. enthusiasts say e—scooters are one of the few convenient alternatives to overcrowded trains and buses. but motoring organisations say rules on how they should be driven are desperately needed. fairly rapidly, we're going to need some legislation to clarify where they can travel,
how they can travel, and also some guidance in terms of the highway code. the global boom in e—scooters has been fuelled by sharing schemes, and the fear of an avalanche of vehicles might be behind britain's reluctance to embrace them. but inokim's boss says better regulation could keep numbers down, and he's convinced, if the uk gets on board with e—scooters, it won't look back. joe miller, bbc news. a collection of old is science from the moscow subway have sold outjust moments after went on sale. —— old signs. these are not so much train stations but palaces underground. the moscow metro system is one of
the most spectacular in the world, and now a small part of it is up for grabs. passenger signs. no and now a small part of it is up for grabs. passengersigns. no entrance, no exit, that sort of thing. 0n grabs. passengersigns. no entrance, no exit, that sort of thing. on sale and selling fast. translation: no exit, that sort of thing. on sale and selling fast. translationzlj lived nearby so i decided to run here instead of having my breakfast. when i arrived there were some signs left and now i am a happy owner. work began on the network in the mid 19305. it work began on the network in the mid 1930s. it was supposed to glorify the wonders of the communist system. in fact, it outlasted the soviet union itself. these are relics of an earlier age, and this isjust the beginning. translation: there will surely be a second bunch. they are already in our warehouse, and we are collecting the very best. they will be of interest not only for passengers, but for collectors and designers as well. here is one
customer who feels she is heading in the right direction. president trump is in hot water with a lot of parents, and quite possibly santa claus himself. despite the partial us government shutdown, one agency that hasn't ground to a halt is norad. on christmas eve it has a santa tracker. this is what it looks like. young and old can follow the movements of father christmas as he delivers presents around the world. american kids can also call in to talk to employees, and some of those calls get patched through to the president and first lady. that's what happened to one girl named collman. have a listen to part of her conversation with mr trump. are you still a believer in santa? 'cause at seven, it's marginal, right? well, the girl on the other end of that call — collman lloyd from lexington, south carolina — has said she still believes in santa claus.
according to the post and courier newspaper, probably like most 7—year—olds, she didn't know what the word "marginal" meant. let's have a listen to her talking with the president. probably put out some cookies, and then we're hanging out with our friends, so that's pretty much all. you just have a good time. are you still a believer in santa? yes, sir. 'cause at seven, it's marginal, right? yes, sir. say hi to the president. you just enjoy yourself. where from? collman also told the paper she was glad to be able to talk with the president. and yes, she left cookies and milk out for santa. there is much more on all the news for you any time on the bbc news website. and you can reach me and most of the team on twitter. i'm @bbcmikeembley. hello.
christmas day started with a temperature of —8 in north—east scotland, but as the day went on, in north—west scotland, the temperature hit plus—1a celsius. most of us had a mild, dry christmas day, and that's how it's going to stay for boxing day. it is high pressure in control, extending from the continent across the british isles at the moment. and whilst most of us will be dry in the day ahead, not all of us. this weather front will change things for north—west scotland. if you're close to that, you are going to see some rain at times. and this is how the day is starting, but very mild with it. north—east scotland still close to freezing, so this is where boxing day starts with a frost. elsewhere, we are a good few degrees above freezing, but plenty of cloud, maybe drizzly in places, certainly misty for many of us, as well. now, as the day goes on, further rain in north—west scotland. elsewhere, if we're going to see some sunshine, it's probably towards north—east scotland. perhaps the central belt of scotland, parts of north—east england, north—east wales, and we should see some sunshine developing more widely across some southern counties of england during the afternoon, and into the channel islands as well. and almost across the board, temperatures are into double figures for that mild, unseasonal feel to things.
now, as we go on through wednesday night and into thursday morning, the rain in north—west scotland easing, a good deal of cloud around, a few breaks here and there, but more especially across southern england, maybe into south wales. and this is where we'll see the lowest temperatures as thursday begins. this is where we're most likely to see a frost in places, and there could be some fog patches, perhaps dense and slow to clear, as well. now, where they do clear, we will see some sunshine, and again on thursday, it's north—east scotland that will see some blue sky in places. many other places will be cloudy, but still essentially dry. and as for the temperatures, still on the mild side, but i think for many parts of england and wales, you mayjust shave two or three degrees off that temperature compared with what we're getting for boxing day. now, high pressure is still close by, still generally in charge going into friday, but we are going to see a weather front coming in from the atlantic. ahead of it, southern areas of the country could well start on friday again with some dense fog in places. damp for northern ireland first thing, that won't last. a weakening spell of rain moving across scotland and northern england, and nothing left, really, of that rain as it moves further south during the day. and behind that, you get to see some sunshine coming through, and temperatures are
still on the mild side. could well see another spell of rain affecting parts of scotland as saturday begins. but for most over the weekend, with high pressure close by, it is dry, it's often cloudy, mind you, but it is mild. that's your forecast. this is bbc news. the headlines: japan has confirmed it will resume commercial whale hunting next year in defiance of a global ban. it's also set to withdraw from the international whaling commission, the body tasked with whale conservation. japanese officials say eating whales is part of the country's culture. aid organisations in indonesia have urged people in the sunda strait area to move to higher ground after warnings extreme weather could further destabilise the anak krakatau volcano.
the number of people known to have died in saturday's tsunami has risen to 429. a second child has died after being taken into custody while trying to cross into america from mexico with his family. the 8—year—old boy from guatemala, had been complaining of a fever. thousands of central american migrants are spending christmas on the streets of the violent border city of tijuana.